Standing on my Own Two Feet

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                              –Coco Chanel                     

 

“Everyone is different and that really is what makes everyone the same.”                                                                                                                                                                                                –Unknown

 

Me at age 2, blissfully unaware of the lifelong struggles that loomed ahead.

 

For the longest time, in fact, ever since I can consciously remember, I have felt as if I’ve been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Whenever I’m faced with the potential opportunity to open myself up entirely to people, I freak out, and almost automatically shut down.

My biggest, most painful aspect of living with spina bifida is really a self-inflicted complex. I can’t say that this particular aspect of having spina bifida has caused me actual physical pain. But it alone has had the ability to affect almost every single interaction I’ve had with other humans. And that, in and of itself, is far more painful than any surgery I’ve had.

That’s a pretty heavy burden to carry at 25 years old. It’s certainly a burden I’ve sought time and again to shed, but with no luck.

As part of the “bill of goods” sold to me when I was born with spina bifida, I was also born with clubbed feet. This is what the medical community, and society, really, likes to call a “deformity.” But I oppose this term wholeheartedly, as it not only goes against the grain of treating people equally (as does the term “disabled,” for that matter), it also implies that in making a person that way, there was some grievous mistake on God’s part.

There are ZERO mistakes in God’s design. There are only mistakes in the human thought process. 

The latter, and not the former, is the cause of all my suffering. It is not that somehow I’m imperfect (if any human can presume to call themselves perfect!), but rather that everything in the mass media, in society, tells me that I’m not perfect. 

Believe me, if I possess any imperfection, it is not that I am physically flawed, but rather that for the past 25 years, I have opted to buy into the warped notion that I am flawed.

But who could blame me after those awful early school years of enduring idiotic queries such as “what’s wrong with your legs?” “Why, nothing, thank you. What’s wrong with your sense of self-preservation?” (Of course, that last quote is what I wish I’d told people!)

Still, I am perfect and beautiful in the eyes of God. 

Through my own eyes, I’ve often viewed myself as a “freak,” “ugly,” “unattractive.” And yet, as I type these words, I am stung by the full impact of my own rejection; the one person who I should be able to rely on to love me, often loathes me. Is there any betrayal worse than a person who hates him or herself?

Both my feet were “corrected” (yes, the quotes are necessary!) surgically sometime after I was born, but my right foot never fully straightened out. I had surgery in my early teens to release the tendons in my right foot, straightening it a little further. I had one other surgery in high school to remove a small bone in my right foot when a pressure sore under it wouldn’t heal.

But it has been of no use. Yes, my walk is no doubt better because of these procedures, but I still feel like screaming bloody murder when I walk into– no, am dragged into— a shoe store. I always have trouble finding shoes that will fit both feet perfectly, and I can’t help but cringe whenever I walk past the rows of what I call “Sex-and-the-City-shoes.” I hate them. (While we’re on the subject, when did it become a cardinal rule of shoe retail stores to never carry any Women’s size smaller than 5!? Just what are they feeding girls nowadays? Because of this, I’m often forced to peruse the girls’ shoes, but even that section seems taken over by Carrie Bradshaw-esque fashions.)

Besides, I absolutely hate removing my shoes in public. They’re usually some type of sneaker or boot, but are pretty good at disguising my foot size. That being said, I’ve obviously had to grow accustomed to this at airports. Then again, nobody is looking at your feet at an airport!

To me, the shame I feel over this part of me I can’t change has even led me to believe I will never find a loving, accepting romantic partner. But even that concern pales in comparison to the fear I have of facing rejection from my dearest friends. It may sound unreasonable, but imagine  someone with an eating disorder. As often as you might try to tell that person how thin and attractive they are, they can’t think logically. Anybody who’s ever had an inferiority complex can attest to that.

So yes, here I am all, and I was born with clubbed feet. But, I am not, nor have I ever been, deformed. For as a human being, I was made in the image and likeness of God, so I am of the same mold.

Besides, we are all different, every single one of us. So in that, we are all the same. 

 

Thank you so much for the love and support you have given me thus far.

 

😉 Laurita

 

P.S. I’m not fishing for compliments here; I’m just sayin.’ Your understanding and acceptance is all that I’m asking for.

 

 

© 2011, Laurita. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “Standing on my Own Two Feet

  1. You are brave and beautiful, and worthy. I love how you know deep down that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m so grateful for this transparent look into your inner monologue, and there are thoughts I can certainly relate to. Your vulnerability here is breathtaking, and your words are going to touch people. Thank you for hitting publish on this one! *HUG* Love you <3

    • Wow…you really know how to read into my soul, don’t you? I’m chuckling here because YES, hitting that “Publish” button was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But now I feel empowered by the love I’m receiving from you and from others. Love you BACK– very much! <3

  2. I don’t have many words, but I do have love.

    We are all perfect. I was looking at the sugar cookies my kids made tonight, thinking about how they look nothing like the cookies in Better Homes & Gardens, etc.

    Who wants those magazine cookies, anyway? I don’t want formulaic. I want special cookies. I want friends that aren’t manufactured. I want cookies that are perfect because they’re expressions of who my kids are right now. I want my friends that are perfect because they are individuals that all bring something unique to the world.

    Know that you ARE perfect.

    • Eryn– very good point! I may not be a mom, but I can certainly relate to that mentality that “my loved ones are perfect.” Certainly the people who TRULY love me will have no problems with me, my body, or even my personality.

      But– now and then, those insecurities seem to take over and block all rational thought.

      At least, I feel I’ve now taken that first step towards getting my sanity back! 😉

      Thank you so much for your friendship!!

      –Laurita

  3. Laurita, you’re an inspirational profile of courage and self giving. Your confidence resonates much more than you realize. You inspire others. You will reconnect with yourself and come to peace with yourself and realize how powerfully advanced you are. Many people around you see it, you just need to sit back, look inside and realize it.

    The setbacks, pain and disabilities you’ve experienced are nothing compared to what you have in positive influences and advancement as you move forward. I found your post moving and inspiring and will share it with others who have experienced similar issues, especially with labels.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, there’s always someone out there more than willing to be hard on you without having to add to it.

    Be the hero that you are!

  4. Laura- Linda! Firstly, let me commend you on your writing – in of itself was beautiful.
    But let me thank you for allowing me (us) to come and understand you, so pure and strong! You spoke so sincerely, I HEARD you, and I can understand. It is these things in life that carry us through, and make us who we are, so carry that as well with you – brave, strong, beautiful you!
    Thank you for being an inspiration, and your old soul rings through.

    Look forward to what you have to write next!

  5. Laurita, after reading trough , I believe we all have flaws and deformities, I believe some deformities come from the inermost self of an ignorant mind. We judje other for being different but :
    Who the hell made the measuring standard?
    To be different – we have to be compared to something, so if everyone else is equal and the world is the way it is because of that,
    I really long and wish I am different , I dont want to be compared to the standards of beauty or feminine cliches – never the less I want to be equal to every advertisng of perfect beauty or equal to the rest of humanity,
    Because is the “diferent” the “disabled” , the “deformed” minds – the ones that can stand out and stepp out of the box to change this world!
    Genious are often called crazy,

  6. Have always admired your smile and your energy for life. I agree that we all have issues of incorformity we have to deal with and mass media doesn’t help. You seem to know where to get your strength from and now you have a community that supports you

  7. I don’t know where to start: by confronting your “demons”–and lyrically, I might add– you h0ld up the mirror, challenge us. Individuals, society, the powerful mass media must look hard at our prejudices and fears that force us to accept and promote intolerance. How perceptive of you to describe our societal mental straitjacket as the “deformity” and as going against Christ’s teachings of love, compassion, and mercy. May your courage, vulnerability, raw emotions, and honesty inspire each of us to stand up in our lives against intolerance and question the group think. It takes one voice. It can inspire a movement.

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  10. Hi Laura!
    You are so beautiful hun. You make my heart swell.
    I have the sweetest grandson with Spina Bifida and it’s so wonderful to know he’ll be able to find great friends like you. Thank you for sharing yourself on your blog. We all can find strength from you.
    I wanted to tell you that you might consider that time you spent in the incubator between birth and being in your arms could possibly be what causes you to almost shut down when trying to open up to people. Not given the chance to bond with your mom those days after birth causes a primal would.
    Anyway, it just made me think of it when I was reading your blog.
    It’s so awesome to have met you hun.
    Love, Kami

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